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All done for the community

Local service organizations Rotary and Kiwanis work together and apart on myriad projects


In Newberg, the opportunities for volunteering are abundant. Among others, there are three service organizations actively involved in the community: the Kiwanis, the Noon Rotary Foundation and the Early Bird Rotary Foundation. While there are also Noon and Early Bird Rotary Clubs, the foundations supply the main funding for projects, scholarships and various requests. Although each differ in mission, they sometimes come together for a common cause, like installing new equipment in Memorial Park.

Kiwanis

Helping children is a common theme among service organizations, but for the Kiwanis Club, it is their core purpose.

“We are all about kids; that is our main target,” said Rosita Siebel, Kiwanis president. “If we are working on a project we want to know how it’s going to positively impact children and the community. So that’s where our focus is.”

That means they have a long list of commitments year after year — including the Terrific Kids program, the Eliminate Project and what’s known as “BUGS.”by: GARY ALLEN - Rebuilding the playground at Memorial Park was a joint effort between the Newberg Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, as well as the Chehalem Park and Recreation District.

“It stands for Bringing Up Grades,” Siebel said. “We partner with Edwards Elementary to go in and recognize students that have brought their grade level up without any grades going down at the end of the trimester.”

The foundation also funds the Kiwanis program in the schools.

“We are developing kids at a younger age to give back to the community,” Siebel said. “It helps turn them into great Kiwanians. That’s why we help them at such a young age.”

Newest to the Kiwanis family is K Kids at Mabel Rush Elementary, the first elementary-grade Kiwanis Club in Newberg.

“They are learning leadership skills,” said board member Nancy Hughes. “One focus is also anti-bullying and the kids are so excited about that.”

To fund their many projects, the Kiwanis have a few main fundraisers including the Golf Scramble in June, a flower bulb sale and for the past 30 years an annual spaghetti feed, but that changes this year.

Siebel said instead of the spaghetti feed, they are hosting a semi-annual recycling event for metal and electronics that can then be sold to raise money.

Noon Foundation

For the Noon Rotary Foundation, it’s all about health education and the general welfare of youth.

Auggie Gonzales, treasurer, said although they focus on the Newberg area, 10 years ago they extended 10 percent of their budget to include international service.

“When we fund we generally look at monetary association to youth programs,” he said.

So they fund programs like the Royal Family Kids Camp, Chehalem Youth and Family Services and local schools. While more than half of the donations are annual contributions, Gonzales said the 20 to 40 percent that vary each year go through an application process.

“First we have an application that organizations, individuals and groups complete. On that application we ask to specify what they request and the time frame they need this,” he said. “We ask for a brief description of the organization and project, then also tell us who benefits from this.”

He said they also ask about the total cost of the project and how their contribution fits in.

“We subsequently ask for a report and ask for a presentation so members can see where the money went,” he said.

Unfortunately, next year’s budget has dropped to about $20,000 — down from $70,000 the previous year.

“Does this mean a drop in funding to the community? No,” he said.

The foundation has money saved in investments they can dip into, Gonzales said.

“We feel there is a need in the community,” he said. “If we need to be more aggressive in our fundraising, we will.”

For now, they gather most of their funding from selling Rota-Dent mobile dental units.

“We used to spend Saturdays assembling the chairs, but we are partnered now with the rotary in Austria,” he said. “They provide hand pieces that we sell along with the dental chairs.”

They also host an annual “upscale” auction where they pick a local organization to fund with some of the proceeds.

Early Bird Foundation

Unlike the Noon Foundation, the Early Bird’s focus is on brick and mortar.

“Our goal is to assist in building things, like the entrance where First Street and Hancock Street split, the entrance to Newberg. We were involved with that,” said board member and past president Ken Austin. “That’s kind of what we do.”

Austin said it’s a hands-on club.

“That is the desire of the club, so if we give money to something a lot of times we want to be involved with the process,” he said.

Take their sister city, La Plata, Colombia.

“We developed a clean water system, built the molds and send them (and the plans) to La Plata so they are now making their own clean water system,” Austin said.

But the club has also been heavily involved with the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, the library and the schools. But as a brick-and-mortar club, most of their projects are one-time things, except the Kids Helping Kids program.

“Kids go steal change from mom and dad and we end up matching that,” he said. “It goes to help pay for medical care. Counselors had vouchers so they could go get things done.”

To fund it all, they rely on the Rota-Dent program as well.

“We split the funds three ways, about 50-50 (with the Noon Foundation) and then a small portion goes to Austria,” he said.

They also sell hanging baskets they buy from the Newberg High Schools horticulture program.




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